Twitter’s greatest strength is also it’s greatest weakness.  The eclectic nature of the stream of consciousness micro posts that flows across your page contains everything from celebrity gossip and breaking news through to updates from friends and industry insight.  A user that follows a lot of people follows a lot of noise, and will often miss out on nuggets of information – or great jokes – that simply pass off the screen before they have a change to read them.

There are times when you simply want to have a conversation with people on a particular topic, and this is where Twitter Chats come in.  A Twitter chat is an organised conversation is arranged for a specific time where agroup of people can meet up and chat on a particular topic by using a pre-agreed hashtag within their posts.

Lists of Twitter Chats

The chances are that whenever you are online there is at least one chat going on – #amwriting in particular continues all the time and is a really popular channel to join in with for anyone looking for tips or motivation.  Others  such as #smchat about social media strategies take place at an agreed and consistent time – #smchat takes place every Wednesday at 6pm UK time.

There’s a comprehensive list of Twitter Chats available in Google Docs here compiled by Robert Swanick which is kept  up to date with new conversations and schedule changes.

Joining in a Twitter Chat

Joining a Twitter chat on Twitter itself is actually not the easiest way of taking part.  You can set up a search for a particular hashtag at the scheduled time and then following it as it goes on.  Of course, the problem with that is that you can’t tweet from the search page on Twitter:

#amwriting chat on Twitter

#amwriting chat on Twitter

It’s much easier to use a Twitter client like Tweetdeck - all you need to do is set up a filter for the chat and get online at the right time and then get involved.

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